"American Apparel's use of pornographic images of young girls in ads has done more to promote a culture of sexual exploitation than sell products," said Morality in Media's Executive Director Dawn Hawkins, noting that the company is losing millions of dollars annually.
In light of the recent removal of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney for sexual harassment and other misconduct, we urge the company to re-examine its advertising techniques and brand identity.
Some of the company's ads depict young girls topless, with pubic hair showing, or with legs spread. "Clearly, the company has operated with a 'girls are sex objects' attitude not only in their brand identity, but also in the office where, according to news reports, the CEO is alleged to have sexually harassed female employees," Hawkins said.
The Washington Post wondered whether this event signals that "the fashion industry has finally hit porn chic fatigue." We hope this is the case, as these sleazy advertising campaigns profoundly affect the way society views and treats females in our society, Hawkins noted.
Morality in Media asks the public to contact American Apparel to urge that the company turn away from sexual exploitation. A special web page has been set up for the campaign here.
Hawkins said a letter requesting a meeting with American Apparel was sent today by MIM on behalf of the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation to discuss constructive ways the company can avoid sexually exploitive advertisements. The Coalition is a broad based group of concerned leaders and more than 140 organizations active in national, state and local efforts to stop the same sexual exploitation in which American Apparel currently engages.
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